Very early Monday morning, I boarded a plane at JFK bound for Hong Kong, thus beginning close to five weeks of travel. I find myself having the unique circumstance and opportunity to travel for pleasure and discovery in a way that I've never had.
I never did the backpacking through Europe rite of passage either during or after college. The idea of wandering through a new place and simply seeing and discovering has always been an abstract construct. It was something other people did. I was always working.
I've traveled a lot in my life, about 95% for work. However, my kind of business travel is like most people's business travel: arrive at the airport, go to hotel, go to conference room, maybe go out to dinner, go to conference room again, go to airport. Return home. Like many people I've attended meetings in some pretty interesting cities that may as well have been Cleveland, Ohio (not that I'm knocking Cleveland).
So upon leaving my old company, I began to get excited about the possibility of doing travel for the sake of doing travel. As I was doing my planning, I received two pieces of advice from two people I very much admire:
- A former colleague advised: work will always be there. Take the time to visit places that you have no time to visit.
- Dan Buettner, an explorer and writer who I've met a few times, strongly urged me to write every single day while I travelled. It's the best way to capture thoughts, reflections and those special moments that hit you between the eyes but too often drift into receding memories.
I'm taking both of these excellent men up on their advice. I've got a great itinerary including
- Hong Kong
- Bangkok (for a split second -- only way to get to Bhutan)
- Bhutan -- hiking (for a nice chunk of time)
- Bangkok (a little more time on this hop)
- New Zealand -- biking (for an even bigger chunk of time)
- Wrap up in Sydney (one of my favorite cities on Earth)
One interesting aspect of this trip is that I'm traveling alone. Life had to continue at home with school and other responsibilities. Apparently, the world does not stop just because I happen to have a break -- the horrors! My unbelievably kind and supportive wife, Sandee, encouraged me to pack my bags and hit the road.
I don't think I've ever been alone for this long, and it will be an interesting way to get out of my comfort zone by doing all sorts of weird stuff, liking talking to strangers. And perhaps talking to myself.
Over, the next five weeks, I plan to write daily if at all possible. I thought of simply writing in a journal, but this blog gives me a way to share with family and friends or anyone else who I don't bore to tears.
The fun starts now!